Saturday, 14 January 2023

Red Wine & Goat Milk Festival: Biklijada in Vrgorac (VIDEO)

January 14, 2023 - A video appreciation of a festival that even most Croats have never heard of - the outstanding Biklijada young red wine and goat milk festival in Vrgorac. 

Croatia does niche, local and authentic festivals like no other in my experience, with many of these festivals little known outside the local area. Croatia also has some of the best wine in the world, and some of the strangest wine-drinking practices.

Put all the above together, and are we surprised that there is a drink called Bikla, which is a mix of red wine and goat milk, and a festival to celebrate Bikla? I checked it out in September 2022, and I got way more than I bargained for, including having to send my videographer into another country to film the only available goat, while I was treated to a ride in Tito's former limousine which he used from Split Airport to his Split villa to a quite extraordinary place I had never heard of.

Never heard of bikla? Curious to know what happens at a bikla festival? Fasten your seatbelts and enjoy the latest video from the Paul Bradbury Croatia Expert YouTube Channel. 

Having experienced some rather unusual local festivals in my time here, I am on the lookout from some unusual local festivals to cover, such as Biklijada. The edible dormouse festival on Hvar was another memorable one. If you know of any interesting and unique festivals and would like to share, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject Festivals. 


What is it like to live in Croatia? An expat for 20 years, you can follow my series, 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years, starting at the beginning - Business and Dalmatia.

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Thursday, 15 April 2021

Strawberry Picking Season Starts in Southern Croatia, 600 Tonnes of Produce Expected

ZAGREB, 15 April, 2021 - Strawberry picking season has begun in the Vrgorac area in southern Croatia and the Vrgorac strawberry association told a news conference on Thursday that this year  600 tonnes of high quality strawberries can be expected from local fields.

Vrgorac high-quality strawberries will already be available at farmers' markets as of tomorrow the association's president Milan Franić said.

According to Franić, about 600 tonnes are expected from this year's yield which will bring in a revenue of HRK 12 million for producers in the Vrgorac area.

"We have good weather conditions and will produce a standard quality. The yield will be high and of good quality for almost all producers however 15 family farms affected by last year's floods in Kokorići will not have any yield this year because the floods destroyed their greenhouse and crops," said Franić.

He added the price of strawberries is HRK 25 (€3.3) per kilogram, which is far below their price in the European Union where their cost ranges from €7 to €10.

"We are happy however that Vrgorac strawberry farmers will generate a revenue of HRK 12 million for the HRK 5.6 million that they invested, which is good for Croatian circumstances. We will continue to invest in improving the quality of our strawberries of which 80% are produced in tunnel greenhouses which protect them from rain, hail and frost and guarantee they are produced without any pesticides" said Franić.

For more about business in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Saturday, 21 March 2020

Vrgorac Promotes Local OPGs by Opening Digital Market

March 21, 2020 - The OPGs in the agricultural area of Vrgorac will now be promoted on a digital platform for buyers all around Croatia. 

Dalmacija Danas writes that the town of Vrgorac is an agricultural region with over 450 active farms. This area produces tons of strawberries, peaches, apples, plums, table grapes, various fruits and vegetables, and the region is famous for its honey and wine production. Vrgorac now wants to make information available on local OPGs.

“We will maximize our digital green market by agricultural season. Our application can bring domestic products closer to everyone in Croatia.

The "Buy Local - OPG Fruits and Vegetables" app is the result of work on the Think Global, Buy Local project, which we designed within the City and our Entrepreneurial Center to encourage the sale of local producers' agricultural products on the national market.

As part of the conference Smart Cities - Cities of the Future 2018, the City of Vrgorac was awarded the Smart City Award 2018 in the category - Smart Digitization for the android app Buy Local - OPG Fruits and Vegetables.

First, we created a website with a database of family farms, their products and the quantities available, and then an android application that easily connects producers and end-users in just three steps. This creates a direct connection between the buyer and the farmer.

The base will be filled by the agricultural season. I invite all farmers from the Vrgorac area to enroll and submit information on their quantities. This will enable every Croatian citizen who wants to buy local products so that they can reach you.

The contact person for information will be employee Goran Franić, mobile number: +385 99 3558 606,” said the Mayor of Vrgorac, Ante Pranić.

The Vrgorac digital market is available on the Buy Local website here.

To read more about Inland Dalmatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.

Thursday, 13 February 2020

Vrgorac Quality Label to be One of Most Significant Projects in Croatian Agriculture

February 13, 2020 - The products of Vrgorac will soon receive the unique designation label, “Vrgorac Quality”, the City of Vrgorac announced on Wednesday. 

Dalmacija Danas reports that this will thus differentiate Vrgorac products from its competitors, raise and maintain product quality, and stimulate sales in the local, regional and national markets.

“This will be one of the most significant projects for our agriculture. In today's competitive market, communication is becoming an increasingly important factor for a successful business. When it comes to agri-food products and services in rural tourism, the emphasis is on networking supply, creating common labels, and joint promotional activities. For a year, we worked on a project to help our farmers.

Agricultural production is highly developed in the town of Vrgorac, with the most important products being strawberries, prosciutto, wine, peaches, nectarines, grapes, table grapes, vegetables and honey. We are among the leading areas in Croatia for grapevines, prosciutto, strawberries, and table grapes. One way to increase the mutual knowledge and value of these products is to create a recognizable brand.

The purpose of the label is to differentiate these products from competitors, to raise and retain the quality of these products, and to encourage the sale of these products in the local, regional and national markets.

Our quality mark will be protected by the Intellectual Property Office of the Republic of Croatia as a figurative trademark owned by the City of Vrgorac, which in accordance with the prescribed procedure (Rulebook and contract on the right to use the quality mark) will give interested manufacturers the right to use the label. The quality label will be able to be used on product packaging and labels, and promotional materials. Every OPG that meets the criteria gets the label, and the OPG number will be visible at the end of the label.

The quality label, in the first phase, will be awarded to the following categories of agri-food products:

• Strawberries and other strawberry products;

• fresh fruits and vegetables and other products resulting from the processing of fruits and vegetables;

• honey and other bee products;

• wine and other grape and wine products in accordance with the Law and the Ordinance on wine

We will soon present this project in detail with a public presentation, which is in cooperation with our agricultural associations, agricultural advisers and the Tourist Board, i.e., members of the Commission."

To read more about Inland Dalmatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.

Monday, 20 January 2020

Vrgorac Mayor Prohibits Use of Disposable Plastic Packaging

The use of disposable or so-called single use plastic has become a common topic of conversation and is a frequent theme of all those engaged in attempting to preserve their local environment. Plastic pollution has also captured an enormous amount of attention, especially when it comes to human damage to the marine world. Vrgorac, a town in Split-Dalmatia County, has stepped up.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 20th of January, 2020, on Monday, Vrgorac Mayor Ante Pranic gave the directors of the town's numerous institutions instructions on the decision to prohibit the use of plastic packaging in the town's official institutions as well as at during Vrgorac's various events held throughout the course of the year, stating that they should be replaced by glass and also by much more environmentally friendly, biodegradable paper packaging.

In addition to the aforementioned, praiseworthy move, Vrgorac's mayor is also putting a stop to the consumption of bottled water at work meetings held within Vrgorac's local government and at during Town Council meetings. These bottles are all to easy to purchase, drink from and throw away without a second thought about how the wasted plastic builds up and negatively affects our local environment and our entire planet as a whole.

In the future, drinking water should be served in glass jars from Vrgorac's water supply network, removing the need for harmful plastic bottles which don't break down.

All establishments in Vrgorac will, owing to this decision, receive special waste disposal containers by Friday this week in order to facilitate the proper separation of all of the collected paper, to make sure things are recycled and disposed of in a safe and correct manner, with the least damage being inflicted on the local environment.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for much more. For more information on both official and unofficial ways Croatia works to protect its environment, give Total Eco Croatia a follow.

Friday, 27 September 2019

Makarska Riviera, Imotski and Vrgorac to Promote Cycling Tourism Together

September 27, 2019 - The Makarska Riviera, Imotski and Vrgorac, which includes Biokovo, are actively working together to promote cycling tourism in the county.

HRTurizam writes that one of the projects that will promote this outdoor segment of tourism is the cycling spectacle ‘CRO Race’, which starts from Osijek on October 1st and rides to Biokovo and Makarska on the third day.

Specifically, CRO Race is organized by Top Sport Events, which has proven itself through the successful organization of all ‘Tour of Croatia’ editions over the past four years. This year, the race will include six stages, covering more than a thousand kilometers across Croatia. The race will be broadcast on six continents of the world.


When it was previously organized as ‘Tour of Croatia’, the race also passed through the Makarska Riviera, Biokovo and Zabiokovlje, and footage of the race itself was shown in 190 countries, which contributed globally to the promotion of this part of Split-Dalmatia County. It is the result of a collaboration between the Makarska Tourist Board and Spot, which through its brand "Trail - Full Cycling Experience", develops the Makarska Riviera, Biokovo and Zabiokovlje as a cycling tourism destination. 

"Beautiful nature, spectacular views, along with quality roads, accommodation facilities, and the gastronomic offer makes the Makarska Riviera and Biokovo ideal for cycling tourism. It is an enormous potential that can be greatly developed with a serious approach and program,” announced the race organizer Vladimir Miholjevic.

"We will cover all places of the Makarska Riviera, and cyclists will go through all their centers. It will be spectacular! Thanks to fantastic television footage from earlier races that toured the world, a group of UK reporters arrived, riding across Biokovo on a fascinating road leading to the very top. They were thrilled! They wrote a great report, published on 7-8 pages, a subtle, honest, personal experience. Those of us who live in this destination realize that we really do not appreciate it enough only when others open our eyes. Cycling tourism can only do good to the destination, and discover it in a new way, with a different perspective,” he explains, pointing out that it is necessary to develop infrastructure that includes cycling paths, as well as other services that cyclists need.

Miholjevic notes that he participated in the meeting with the tourist board and hotelier and is pleased that the potential has been recognized and that there is a will to develop it.

"The Makarska Riviera, Imotski and Vrgorac is a unique area along Biokovo, ideal for the development of cycling tourism, so we have contracted with Spot, who will then propose measures that we will take to raise the offer to a higher level, complement it with all that the modern cycling tourist needs, and promote it. The development of cycling tourism is one of the strategic plans for the development of our destinations for the development of the post-season and pre-season,” said Hloverka Novak Srzić, Director of the Makarska Tourist Board.

Spot is trusted with developing the destination for cycling tourism. “We are currently reviewing the condition of existing trails and looking for new ones. After determining the complexity of the route, we go to different stakeholders. Of course, it defines how the route is prepared, its equipment, services, and other things. We also educate business people who are familiar with the specifics of our guests, as well as the local governments, who will be educated on ways to maintain the route,” explains Karlo Kucan, the company's director.

"After that, there is the promotional part in which we include hotels, prepare photo, video and printed materials, and in 2020 and 2021, we will present the Makarska Riviera at four tourist fairs. The destination cannot be branded overnight,” Kucan emphasizes, adding that “we cannot have adrenaline parks on Biokovo because of the karst, which does not allow it, but we have an excellent opportunity to develop mountain biking. On the coastal part, we are somewhat restricted by the traffic on the highway, but that is why the hinterland of Biokovo is an uncut diamond for cycling tourism."

To read more about travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Days of Dalmatian Prosciutto and Wine Returns to Inland Dalmatia

The traditional wine and gastronomy event ‘Days of Dalmatian Prosciutto and Wine’ this year is held in the heart of Inland Dalmatia, in Vrgorac, where you can enjoy the best that the Vrgorac region can offer, reports Splitski Dnevnik on May 27, 2019. 

The festival opens on Friday, May 31 at 5 pm and runs until Sunday, June 2 in the impressive ambiance of the Vrgorac City Park, one of the most beautiful parks in Dalmatia. The three-day event will offer visitors plenty of fun and gastronomic delights and once again be a reminder of the reasons why Vrgorac is officially proclaimed the town of Dalmatian prosciutto and wine.

"Vrgorac will welcome all the fans of top-quality prosciutto, extraordinary wines and great entertainment at the most important event for our region, which puts us on the map of the most famous gastronomic festivals all over Croatia, and beyond. The 'Days of Dalmatian Prosciutto and Wine' are an excellent opportunity to enjoy our local customs and flavors, and great concerts will close each day of the event in the best possible way. Just an hour's drive from Split, four and a half hours from Zagreb and only half an hour from the entire Makarska Riviera, Vrgorac becomes the ideal vacation destination for relaxation and enjoyment next weekend,” said Željka Opačak, director of the Vrgorac Tourist Board.

Vrgorac region is largely specific, and its inhabitants are particularly proud of their gastronomic successes - like juicy strawberries, top quality prosciutto, and specialty wines. More than half of the total strawberries cultivated in Croatia come from Vrgorac and its surrounding, with more than 13 million common grape vines planted in the area, as Vrgorsko polje is the largest vineyard in Croatia.

"Our region is unique because of the abundance of native varieties, some of which have almost disappeared but have been revitalized thanks to the great love of our homeland and the pride that we have. Today the attention of the acknowledged sommeliers is directed to Vrgorac and its surroundings, and our variety Zlatarica vrgorska, Trnak and Plavka respect the prices and have important places on wine maps. Visitors to the Dalmatian prosciutto and wine event will be able to see their specialty and quality as well, and we can hardly wait for the winemakers to welcome them,” said Dario Gašpar, co-owner of Gašpar Winery from Umčani near Vrgorac.

Vrgorac also boasts the largest prosciutto production in Southeast Europe, from which more than 70 percent of certified Dalmatian prosciutto production reaches Croatian tables.

"Dalmatian prosciutto is a favorite delicacy throughout Croatia, and the ‘Days of Dalmatian Prosciutto and Wine’ are a great opportunity to educate citizens further and encourage them to enjoy it even more often. The specialty of Dalmatian prosciutto is a protected geographical indication, thanks to a traditional and natural process of production without added preservatives and additives, salted with sea salt and dried and aged for at least one year. The skill of its production is part of the Dalmatian tradition, and we have to preserve it, and this event is one of the ways we remind ourselves of its authenticity and importance in the original gastronomic offer of Croatia,” said Darko Markotić, President of the Croatian Prosciutto Cluster.

The ‘Days of Dalmatian Prosciutto and Wine’ begins on Friday, May 31 at 5 pm by raising the flag of the town of Vrgorac, and every evening during the event, visitors will enjoy a vibrant entertainment program. As part of the event, visitors will be able to taste Dalmatian prosciutto and other traditional cured meats, native wines from the Vrgorac region and numerous other homemade products at stands from over 40 exhibitors from various parts of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

There will even be a culinary show focused on Mediterranean cooking and the Vrgorac region with top chefs from ŠKMER (Association of the Heads of Mediterranean and European Cuisine) Rene van Sevenant, Marija Lulić, Željko Neven Bremec and the traditional culinary star of the event, the legendary Stevo Karapandža will combine the flavors of Vrgorac into top gastronomic creations.

At the Vrgorac Agriculture Exhibition, visitors will be able to see historical photographs showing the most diverse agricultural activities in the Vrgorac region through the 20th century.

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Vrgorac Mayor Dismisses Excess Administration, Turns Offices into Nursery

People are constantly complaining about politicians. It's a trend which knows no borders and isn't limited to any one particular place or nationality, but Croatia could quite easily win an Olympic medal in it if it was turned into a professional sport. The Vrgorac mayor however, will likely win a huge amount of praise for his latest unusual but righteous move.

While many politicians, mayors, deputy mayors (the list goes, and on, then on a bit more) continue to work in a ''politically cluttered'' city administration environment, where there are a huge number of people working and nobody really knows what they're actually doing, the Vrgorac mayor has decided on a somewhat different approach.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 21st of November, 2018, the Vrgorac mayor, Ante Pranić, has decided to dismiss Vrgorac's excess administration and turn their offices into a nursery. 

''We don't have an administration now, because of rationalisation, but we do have a professional set of staff for kids,'' the mayor wrote on Facebook.

Vrgorac mayor Ante Pranić took to social media to let everyone know about the brand new, additional room for another group of children located on the premises where Vrgorac's administration was once.

''When the citizens put their trust in us, chaos awaited us in the kindergartens. We didn't have a pedagogue or the professional personnel, but what we did have was a surplus of administration. We've put that in order. Now we don't have an administration, because of rationalisation, but we do have a professional set of staff for the kids.''

Pranić went on to write that he was accused of having dismissed Vrgorac's excess administration illegally. He said that today, the court verdict in regard to that had arrived and it turns out that nothing about it was illegal.

''The court says we've all done it by law,'' Pranić wrote on Facebook.

Stay up to date with the strange world of Croatian politics by following our dedicated page.

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Croatia as It Once Was: Vrgorac and Metkovic in 1970 (VIDEO)

Vrgorac and Metkovic are two settlements in inland Dalmatia with a lot of history, but which spend their time out of the tourism limelight. 

A glimpse into how Vrgorac and Metkovic used to be in the latest edition of how Croatia used to look, with a 1970's video of both Vrgorac and Metkovic, shot with a 8mm camera by Boris Katavic. 


Sunday, 28 October 2018

Inland Dalmatia, Showcasing Croatian Tourism Excellence Away from the Coast

October 28, 2018 - The incredible inland Dalmatia tourism success story continues, as Dalmatinska Zagora is named as the best destination for rural tourism at Days of Croatian Tourism 2018.

I am often asked where my favourite destination is, a question I find impossible to answer. There are so many great places to visit and live in this country, as well as such a variety of experiences that no one place would be a clear winner. Hvar, of course, will always be my first love, but other islands such as Korcula are fighting hard for my affections, while life in Varazdin Country with access to fabulous Zagreb has been a revelation. But there is one region in Croatia for which I have a real soft spot. 

Inland Dalmatia. 


It was with immense pride and almost a tear in my eye that I watched the fantastic inland Dalmatia team pick up a much-deserved award as the best destination for rural tourism at the 2018 Days of Croatian Tourism awards. It has been a real pleasure to watch tourism in inland Dalmatia blossom since my first visit there at the invitation of the Sinj Tourist Board, back in February 2013. 


I loved the energy of the young tourist board directors in this gorgeous region just behind the mountains near Split. One thing led to another and before long, I found myself doing a presentation (see above) to the tourist board directors of inland Dalmatia about a partnership for a new website called Total Inland Dalmatia. It would have been nice of Google not to choose that particular moment to show a Google Ad for Thai brides, but you can't have everything. There was support from the Central Dalmatia Tourist Board and even - ah, those were the days - a small grant from the Ministry of Tourism. Everyone agreed there was a need to better promote the richness of Klis, Sinj, Trilj, Dugopolje, Imotski, Vrgorac and Vrlika as one. 

And while Total Inland Dalmatia played a small part in the rise of inland Dalmatia as a destination, the local stakeholders have played a major role in developing the destination as one brand, and with an increasingly enticing tourism offer. And the progress is extraordinary.


Inland Dalmatia Destinations - the Rise of Imotski

Few destinations in all Croatia have experienced growth like Imotski in the last five years. Certain infrastructure projects such as the opening of a tunnel to the Makarska Riviera have helped immensely, but so too has the innovative tourism promotion, such as Austrians slacklining over the Red Lake. The increase in tourism overnights and the accompanying number of new villas with swimming pools has transformed Imotski into a very attractive destination - a chance to enjoy traditional Dalmatian hospitality and accommodation while being a short drive from the beach.  


Inland Dalmatia Destinations - the Rise of Sinj

The driving force for inland Dalmatia in the last few years has been the historic town of Sinj, most famous for its Alka knights' tournament, which has taken place each year to commemorate the victory against the Ottomans in 1715. 2015 saw the historic 300th Alka, and the Sinj Tourist Board took the Alka story as far away as New York, while the outstanding new Alka museum is the latest attraction in this fascinating historic town just 30 minutes by car from Split. 

Inland Dalmatia Destinations - the Emergence of Vrlika

I am a little embarrassed to admit I had never heard of Vrlika before I started getting involved with the region, but it did not take me long to realise what I had been missing. Check out the latest promotional video from Vrlika above, to see why you too should be heading to Vrlika next summer. For now you can stay - although the numbers are small, the first tourist accommodation rentals have become available in Vrlika in the last two years,a process of patience and encouragement from the Vrlika Tourist Board.  


Inland Dalmatia Destinations - the Roman Heritage of Dugopolje

Some imaginative diversification from Dugopolje, known by many as the motorway exit for Split, but also home to some great Roman heritage. Dugopolje was the first destination in Central Dalmatia to take part in the Roman roads initiative by Central Tourist Board Director, Josko Stella (pictured above).


Inland Dalmatia Destinations - From Roman Heritage to Trilj Blues

One of the things I quickly learned about inland Dalmatia is that the unexpected is always around the corner. A great addition to the Trilj calendar these past two years - the Thrill Blues Festival.  


Inland Dalmatia Destinations - Klis and the Game of Thrones Factor

If you are trying to develop a tourist destination, it always helps with the promotion is Game of Thrones decides to film there. And while the hit HBO series put Klis Fortress on the map, local authorities have done much in recent years to turn it into a fantastic tourist attraction. And one you can get to easily by bus. Here's how.


Inland Dalmatia Destinations - Vrgorac and a Unique Wine Festival

Thought you had experienced every type of wine festival possible? How about one which celebrates a distinctly Dalmatian beverage - red wine and goat milk, or bikla. You can top up your glass straight from the goat at the annual biklijada in Vrgorac. 

An amazing region with great energy. And where else would TCN choose for a teambuilding session? Here is what you can get up to on a day out in the region they call Dalmatinska  Zagora. . 

Congratulations to all the inland Dalmatia team both on the award and the progress you have made. I, for one, am looking forward to the next chapter.  

Want to learn a little more about inland Dalmatia? Here are 25 things to know about Dalmatinska Zagora.

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